Minutes - TRIPS Council - View details of the intervention/statement

H.E. Ambassador Dr. Walter Werner

418.   This delegation would like to thank the delegation of Switzerland for its clear introduction of our concept paper. As is written in the concept paper, in the current economy "knowledge is the main driver of economic growth" and "intangible assets play an important role". In this situation, this delegation fully supports the idea that protecting IP is highly important in the process of creating a new and innovative business. 419.   This delegation is of the view that strategic IP protection facilitates rapid growth of new business. In order to support the growth of new business, the Japanese Government has established various IP-related policies for start-ups in Japan. Taking this opportunity here, this delegation would like to mention what we are currently doing and show how start-ups made good use of their IP.5 420.   First, we will show you the general situation of new business. According to statistics by our Government, the number of new business start-ups in Japan is about 200,000 a year. Since a new and innovative business is essential to drive economic growth and create jobs, the Japanese Government supports the so-called "start-up ecosystem" in various ways, supporting start-ups from their beginnings, up to their mature stage. 421.   Then, what kind of support programme is needed for start-ups, in particular in the IP field? According to the questionnaire conducted by the Japan Patent Office, the following three points will be addressed. a. Lack of awareness of the importance of developing an IP strategy; b. Lack of opportunities to meet IP experts familiar with the start-up ecosystem; and c. Need for speedy support. 422.   In response to this situation, just this past summer the JPO, in collaboration with other agencies, launched a brand-new IP policy to support start-ups. Currently there are five policy keywords, which are: (1) strategy (2) expansion (3) speed-up (4) low cost and (5) information. We will talk about two out of five areas of support, which are the "Hands-on programme" and the "Accelerated Examination". In addition, this delegation will show you a model case that made use of IP as a development tool. 423.   This is the "IP Acceleration programme for Start-ups", which we call IPAS". The JPO just started this programme from this July. Under this programme, the JPO sends Special Professional Teams to start-ups during their early stage of growth, for a certain period of time. The team consists of several business experts such as Venture Capitalists, Business Consultants and Attorneys. The team provides hands-on support to form and work with the start-ups' IP strategies. Based on this programme, we hope that start-ups in their early stages can expand their business quite smoothly, based on developing appropriate IP strategies and making use of professional support. 424.   The next is "Accelerated Examination" which also started from this July. Speed is of the essence for start-up' businesses, so it is important to adapt patent examination to enable start-ups to strategically acquire and utilize their patent rights at the right timing. In addition, it is also important to provide fine-tuned support to start-ups that have little experience in acquiring patents. 425.   Based on this, the JPO launched two programmes: "Accelerated Examination Using Interviews" and "Super-Accelerated Examination" in order to fulfil start-ups' needs. 426.   Conducting "Accelerated Examination using Interviews", start-ups can meet patent examiners face-to-face and directly explain the details of their patents. And examiners give general advice on patentability and various initiatives provided by the JPO for supporting start-ups. 427.   In the "Super-Accelerated Examination", start-ups can request the fast-track programme if the inventions are already being worked. This system enables start-ups to acquire patent rights much sooner compared with the standard application process. Obviously, these programmes enable them to acquire patent rights in a speedy manner, and enable them to achieve strategic business activities. 428.   Finally, this is a successful case in which IP was used as a means for a start-up to collaborate with a big company and expand its business. A joint-venture in Osaka, called "Microwave chemical", developed a factory process utilizing micro-radio waves. Its IP activities are worthwhile to note, in particular the following three points. 429.   First, the company regularly holds an "invention committee" to maintain a solid IP strategy. The committee Members are comprised of the CEO, staff Members in the IP division, and external IP and legal experts based on a partnership agreement. In addition, it has a good training system in IP literacy for the staff, which enables the company as a whole to raise the awareness of IP protection. 430.   Second, the company utilizes its IP rights for building a collaborative relationship with a big company. It enables the company to conduct collaborative research on bigger projects. 431.   Third, leveraging its IP rights, the company can easily obtain financial subsidies from the public sector. The subsidies make it possible for the company to expand its business with foreign partners. 432.   This company was awarded a special prize by the JPO because it adopted a successful IP strategy. This kind of exceptional role model is included in brochures issued by JPO, in order to enhance IP awareness and show that IP strategies are highly important. 433.   In summary, this delegation would like to emphasize again that in the current knowledgebased economy IP is extremely important for driving new and innovative businesses. To facilitate the growth of new business, the Japanese Government provides many programmes for start-ups. This delegation hopes that its information helps other delegations create their own domestic policies and looks forward to hearing other delegations' input under this agenda item.

The Council took note of the statements made.
50.   The Chair said that the item "Intellectual Property and Innovation: The Societal Value of IP in the New Economy – IP and New Business" had been put on the agenda at the written request by the delegations of Australia; the European Union; Japan; Switzerland; the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu; and the United States of America. Since the circulation of the revised draft agenda, Brazil had co-sponsored the item. Those delegations had also submitted a communication on this topic (circulated in document IP/C/W/648 and addendum) to allow Members to prepare for the discussion.
51.   The representatives of the United States of America, Switzerland, Australia, Chile, Japan, the European Union, Norway, Brazil, Singapore, India, Chinese Taipei, Canada, China, South Africa and Colombia took the floor.
52.   The Council took note of the statements made.
IP/C/M/90, IP/C/M/90/Add.1

5 The PowerPoint presentation is available in Room Document RD/IP/29.